Tahltan Nation receives early access to COVID-19 vaccine

Joshua Azizi

The Tahltan Central Government recently announced that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine will be available in all three of their communities this week. 

This comes after the First Nations Health Authority announced last week that select rural and remote Indigenous communities in British Columbia will receive early access to the vaccine. 

Tahltan Emergency Operations Centre Director Feddie Louie said the arrival of the vaccine in the nation is a welcome addition to their tools in the fight against COVID-19.

"It's the light at the end of a tunnel. A very long and dark tunnel, but there's light. We're hoping that a majority of our people will take the vaccine and create another barrier from COVID because if it ever got into our small communities it would be devastating."

The nation has 600* vaccine doses, which they hope to administer over the upcoming weeks. Louie explained that the first people in the community who will have access to the vaccine are elders and frontline workers, followed by immunocompromised people and then other community members. 

She added that although some community members are hesitant about the vaccine, the Tahltan Nation's focus will be on providing education.

"We try to spend our time educating and creating awareness, getting people to educate themselves. We're not saying you should take the vaccine, we're not saying you shouldn't -- we're saying, 'do your own research, if you have questions we'll find the answers for you,' and you decide whether this is for you or not."

The Gitxaala Nation in Kitkatla is also expecing to receive the Moderna vaccine later this week. 

* = Corrected number

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